Polish frontman looks to future and reveals how he lost his fiancee but found faith in humanity during leukaemia fight

Nergal

Survivor: Nergal

Behemoth frontman Nergal lost his fiancee but found faith in humanity during his recent battle against leukaemia, he says.

The Polish blackened metal artist was diagnosed with bone cancer at the end of last year and reports his form of the disease was so fast-moving he had to undergo medical treatment immediately. But he also responded very quickly, and is looking forward to a full recovery.

Nergal, real name Adam Darski, tells Revolver: “It was good to see how everyone really cared about me – it was helpful. My bandmates Inferno and Orion appeared on TV asking people to give blood and do tests for bone marrow. The whole extreme metal community was standing behind me. I wouldn’t have expected that. I was happy to see how many people cared about human beings, not just about a guy in a band.

“I don’t really value the human race that much – but this experience brought back a lot of faith in human beings. It’s very positive at the end of the day.”

Nergal says he’ll never know for certain how he came to have the illness, although a connection has been suggested with radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear explosion, which affected much of Europe. But he remembers how he started feeling ill last June.

“It was right before we left on a European tour,” he says. “I just started having goosebumps on my head and I thought it was some kind of skin disease. Then I had diarrhoea all the time, and i was kind of suspicious.

“After the tour I left for a vacation in Greece. Every time I woke up in the morning my whole bed would be covered in sweat, and I was getting weaker and weaker. I went to the hospital soon after I got home and after three or four days they diagnosed leukaemia.”

Polish pop star Doda was by his side for his recovery, but the couple ended their engagement recently. Nergal says: “She was there for me and she started a media campaign for bone marrow collection. They had 50,000 donors built up over a few years, then within a few months they’d doubled it.

“But it was tough for our relationship. We were apart from each other most of the time. There was no sex – you’re not close with a person physically and you need that. She needs that. You have no hair, you look really ugly and you’re not the same person. I didn’t feel like a real man. I lost a lot of it.

“We’ve picked up again lately but we need time to think it over. It’s a personal thing.”

Now Nergal is looking forward to Behemoth’s comeback shows in October, and other celebrations to make their 20th anniversary year: “I can’t wait to hit the stage again,” he says. “I’m so anxious – I’m so excited. I dream about Behemoth shows. It’s insane, I know, but I can’t tell you how much it means to us.”

Looking back, he’s delighted his experience has been beneficial to so many others, who have been made aware of leukaemia and bone marrow donation.

He reflects: “Seeing other patients dying and stuff – man, I was really lucky. My sickness was an aggressive form. It was really fast, invading my body rapidly. But at the same time I reacted really well to the chemotherapy. It took six months, with the chemo, the radiotherapy and the marrow transplant. It was really fast compared to other patients.

“It’s cool to see that my tragedy had an awesome effect – it’s killer. I’m happy to be able to help out other people. It’s cool. It’s positive.”

Related stories: